14 accused of illegally collecting unemployment benefits in Illinois

Albert L. Wysocki, A Professional Corporation

In April 2012, the Attorney General’s Office and the Illinois Department of Employment Security began working together to crack down on unemployment fraud. The Attorney General’s Office and the IDES have been investigating potential fraud cases for several months now.

Earlier this week, it was announced that these investigations have resulted in at least 14 indictments so far. Those indicted are residents from Chicago and the surrounding area. The partnership reported that this is just the first set of indictments in an ongoing effort to make sure that only those who are eligible to obtain unemployment benefits are actually receiving the benefits they need and deserve.

Unemployment fraud is not only illegal, it is a felony and a conviction could result in lengthy prison sentences. According to reports, the 14 individuals who were recently indicted have been accused of illegally collecting unemployment benefits between 2009 and 2011. Some defendants have been accused of defrauding the state of more than $40,000 each.

The individuals have been accused of collecting unemployment benefits even though they were supposedly working at the time of collecting benefits. Some individuals face theft charges, or Class 1 felony charges. Others face state benefits fraud charges and wire fraud charges, which are Class 3 felonies. Consequences for felonies are harsh. A Class 1 felony conviction could result in four to 15 years in prison. A Class 3 felony conviction could result in a maximum of five years in prison.

If you believe that you may be under investigation for unemployment fraud or other offenses involving fraud, you may want to consult an attorney before you even know whether you will be charged with committing a crime or not. An attorney will make sure your rights remain protected while also building a strategic and aggressive defense based on your case’s unique circumstances and facts.

Source: The Rockford Record, “14 nabbed in unemployment fraud sting,” Jan. 30, 2013

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14 accused of illegally collecting unemployment benefits in Illinois